January 2010 Archives

Analysis: Lead in Snowmobile Crash Story

In a story by the Star Tribune about a fatal snowmobile crash, the lead the reporter chose to use was a straightforward, hard-news lead. I believe anytime you have a story about a death the lead should be a straightforward, hard-news lead, but in a death of a public service official, such as an Officer, it was especially important, if not necessary, for the STRIB to take such an approach.
The elements in the lead included "who" (an off-duty Alexandria police officer), "when" ( Friday Night), "what" (in a snowmobile crash), and "where" (Douglas County). The STRIB does not include in the lead the name of the officer, any history about him, or details about the crash. It also does not include any information about the second victim or his conditions.
This lead works very well for this story because there is very important information for the public to know in that an officer was killed, and the STRIB gets the important elements out in the first sentence, and leaves the details for the paragraphs below the lead.


19-Year Old Arrested in St. Paul Slaying

A 19-year old man is expected to be formally charged with murder on Monday after what police are calling a "jealous dispute" left a St. Paul teen dead, the Star Tribune reported.
Police say the suspect attempted to break into his ex-girlfriend's house on Saturday night in the 700 block of E. Maryland Avenue, and attacked Darius Derrick Maxwell, 17, accusing him of being the ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.
When officers arrived on the scene they found Maxwell mortally wounded, the LaCrosse Tribune said.
The suspect has a child with the ex-girlfriend, who has obtained a restraining order against him, the Star Tribune said.



Alexandria Police Officer Killed in Snowmobile Crash

An off-duty Alexandria police officer was killed Friday night when his snowmobile collided with another in Douglas county.
The Star Tribune reports that officers were called to a snowmobile crash on the Central Lakes Trail after eight pm on Friday Night, where they found two injured men. One of the victims was Officer Patrick Callaghan, 31, the Echo Press said.
Both victims were airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, where Callaghan died. The second victim, Mark Ruder, 25, of Glencoe, is listed as in serious condition.
The Echo Press reported that the crash is under investigation by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and the Minnesota State Patrol.
According to the Star Tribune, Callaghan was hired by the Alexandria Police Department in 2007, and has a long history of law-enforcement in his family.



University Student Shot Outside Centennial Hall

A University of Minnesota student was shot in the back while entering a residence hall between 11:00 and 11:30pm on Monday night.
The Minnesota Daily reported that the student was returning from the Rec Center when the incident occurred. The victim was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where officials say he is expected to undergo surgery and survive.
The shooting occurred after the suspects attempted to rob two female students near Moos Tower before retreating towards the residential hall.
First-year student Nick Furey told the Minnesota Daily that he was in the Centennial Hall lobby when the Victim approached him. Furey said, "the kid walks up to me probably 20 seconds after I heard the gunshots and he looks at me with this blank face...He pulls up his shirt and he goes 'I think I got shot' and he's just spewing blood from his stomach."
Campus Police Chief Greg Hestness said that a third incident off-campus has been tied to the suspects, but had no further details, the Star Tribune reported.
No arrests have been made at this time, but campus police are hoping the many surveillance cameras around campus may provide them with some leads.



International donors approved of a ten-year rebuilding plan for the devastated nation of Haiti at a meeting held in Montreal last week, promising to be "partners rather than patrons."
Al Jazeera reported that the country's Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, said that his country would need at least five to ten years to reconstruct the damage caused by an earthquake earlier this month. The meeting was held to determine the country's immediate needs and being mapping out a plan for recovery.
The New York Times reported that donors have concerns about writing a "blank check," as the Haitian government has a history of mismanaging funds. Concerns were also expressed by foreign governments about the ability of Haiti's government to direct a massive reconstruction project, as most government buildings have been flattened by the quake.
Al Jezeera reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton attended the meeting, stressing the importance of finding the correct method for rebuilding. ""We actually think it's a novel idea to do the needs assessment first, and then the planning, and then the pledging," Clinton said.
The Haiti director for the United Nations program, Eric Overest called the earthquake an opportunity to rebuild a better Haiti.

Senator Specter Apologizes for Recent Remarks

Senator Arlen Specter apologized to Rep. Michele Bachmann for comments he made during a Philadelphia radio program last week.
The Star Tribune reported that Specter called Bachmann on Sunday night and left a voice mail stating his apology. Bachmann later returned the call and accepted the apology.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Bachmann interrupted Specter during a conversation about the recent health care debate, and Specter said Bachmann should "act like a lady."
The comments been received negatively across the nation. The co-chair of the Republican National Committee, Jan Larimer, calling for an apology, said that Specter's comments were "demeaning to all women," and New York Times columnist Gail Collins said that Specter had "lost it."
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, with the exception of Collins, criticisms of Specter's comments was limited to right-wing pundits.

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